What are the best non-toy gifts for kids? I’ve got some suggestions…
Gifts for kids don’t always have to be toys. There are fantastic non-toy gift options that make just a big a WOW moment as a new toy does.
Non-toy gifts are a great way to honor and expand on a child’s interests or loves. It’s a wonderful way to expose them to something new or give them a targeted present you put together based on who they are.
Either way, non-toy gifts are great.
Non-toy gifts don’t have to be “boring” to kids
Look, I love a membership as a gift or a coupon book for a kid, but let’s be honest: those are VERY abstract presents that kids can’t quite understand yet.
Something they can touch and hold? Not quite.
Memberships and gift cards are FANTASTIC family gifts and so unbelievably helpful. I’m not poo-pooing their validity by any means. Just understand that they are an abstract idea and will need some explaining.
But if you’re looking to also grab a really unique non-toy gifts for kids, allow me to give you a list of great gifts we have or have received.
Two plugs I have to make: PRODUCTS DO NOT HAVE GENDERS. None of these items are gender specific and please don’t view them that way. Gifts are KID-SPECIFIC not related to gender.
A LOT OF THESE GIFTS HAVE “PAIRINGS” WITH THEM: My mom and I both love to give a themed-gift to kids. A few items that go together is always a fun box to open or watch unfold during gift giving times.
Make sure to pay attention to the items I added as “pairings” – they’re fantastic as well.
The Best Non-Toy Gifts for Kids
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We gave this to my son for Christmas 2020 and it’s been the most fun for our whole family. We aren’t exactly musical, but this comes with sheet music that even we could follow. This is definitely a 5+ gift.
A globe is a fantastic non-toy gift for a little learner. Grandma gifted this to my son when he was 5 years old and we pull it out often – it’s a great piece for his room.
A camera is THE BEST for kids. If you have a shutter bug in the family, this is a great option that kids can really get behind. Big WOW factor on this one.
Hands down – the best non-toy gift I’ve been giving for a year now. Kids LOVE THESE. They’re magical, just like they were in the 70s. Lots of colors and styles are available, and these are often sold at local toy store (that’s where we get ours).
Yes, you read that right. A CD player.
Here’s my plug for CD players: when kids use Alexa or Spotify (etc.) to find music, they lose the ability to stumble upon new tracks. When they ask Alexa for a song, they can only ask for what they know. CDs let kids discover. Stumble upon and discover is missing from this generation (gosh that makes me sound old…). Also, remember that libraries still check out CDs. It’s a great way to find kids new music.
Starting with: this should NOT be given to a child for weight loss reasons. My kids love their Fitbits because they like having a watch and they like numerical data on how many steps they take each day. There’s a math element that’s really fun. THAT’S IT.
This is such a cool non-toy gift. It is absolutely magical to watch butterflies go through their metamorphosis. Talk about giving a child an experience they will never forget. The kit portion is reusable – you can buy new caterpillars each year.
- A Butterfly is Patient (great book!)
- Caterpillar to Butterfly (a non-fiction easy text)
- Butterfly wings
- Butterfly toys (these are a big hit here!)
I wish we had a tree for this (but my best friend does). My kids love relaxing in these and taking a load off – I know my bestie’s daughter loves this quiet, safe, alone space.
I am a HUGE fan of kids have real tools to use as they develop skills. Will they hammer a finger? Sure will. But they’ll figure it out, just like we did. My kids and their friends (BOYS AND GIRLS) have loved this kit from ages 4+ (but you do what’s best for your family).
- Nails and wood (but seriously, a box of wood scraps or balsa wood is GREAT)
- Other tools (age depending): a hacksaw and a manual hand drill
- Caution tape (trust me)
- Safety/traffic cones
- Kids construction costume
We have both these boxes because I have two kids who love to collect treasures and store away important things to them, like shells, marbles, rocks, bracelets, rings, and pine cones that made an impression. Having a treasure box space to help their trinkets has been so sweet for both of them.
Who doesn’t love seeing their name in print?! For Christmas one year, I got my then 6-year-old a few personalized note pads and cards, and he LOVED it. It was sweet little gift.
Look, I’m still forever a fan of kids and families using whatever random kitchen gadgets they have for a sensory bin, but if you are tired of sharing your measuring cups… these have been pretty spectacular.
PAIRS WELL WITH A FRESH BATCH OF RAINBOW RICE (put it in a mason jar with the gift for maximum cuteness).
Have a child that loves being helpful and cooking? Check out these kid-safe knives and the gifts I’d pair with them as a great option for our budding chefs. We got my son this set around age 3.5 and it’s still with us today!
- This Kid-Friendly Cookbook is A+++
- A kid-sized apron
- Small colanders (I give these as gifts often)
- Tiny kids pitcher for pouring (can’t live without this)
Full disclosure: these are made by my sister-in-law, but the whole business of selling them began with the rainbow set she gifted my oldest. These were a show-stopper of his Christmas gifts last year. She crushed it. These do need a 1-3 week lead time.
We love having sets of binoculars just right for the kids (these come in all the colors shows on the box in the photo).
- Compass (my kids think these are magical)
- Hydration backpacks (kids think these are so cool)
- Walkie Talkies (absolutely love this set – works GREAT!)
Bless these sweep bells and the joy they’ve brought my youngest. This has been a huge reason for him learning note names, scale, and understanding of pitch. The music is easy for him to follow (my mom got this book with it).
I don’t know what the year would have been like without this set. It does NOT include a rope – but that’s a good thing. You can fit it to your trees and space. It’s so flexible. Great for ages 3+. This has been a hero for our time at home.
We got this for my 8 year old, but it was my 4 year old that imprinted on it most. He LOVES seeing the world up close. This is a great way to introduce microscopes to any age.